BLOG WARNING: The material contained herein is of a melodramatic and pessimistic nature and may seriously damage your upbeat mood.
Jesus ..... as a species, we are fucked up.
Saw a programme on tv about care homes for mentally impaired young people. A bloke, posing as a new recruit, goes in with a hidden camera to film what goes on. This is a modern facility, mainly staffed by young people. They are employed as support workers to care for people who are unable to live independently and look after themselves. The patients were regularly bullied and abused - both physically and mentally - according to the filming done by the stooge. For instance, a young, fit, strong bloke regularly slapped, dragged, pinned down and threw freezing water over his 'charges'. Moreover, no-one (neither his peers nor line managers) intervened. In fact they either looked on or joined in. I found it sickening and appalling to watch. The kind of thing that beggars belief. Much like the Stanford Prison experiment carried out by Zimbardo and his team (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment) and the Milgram experiment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment).
What do these experiments, and the behaviour exhibited in the programme, demonstrate? That we're bullies and cowards? That we value approval over and above compassion? That we care more for our own psychological and physical comfort than we do for others?
That we are selfish.
We will protect our own position at the expense of others' suffering and discomfort, particularly when there is little threat of being challenged and called out on our behaviour.
Are we really that scared and cowardly?
On the flip side ......there are many instances of kindness and caring action. But they are often not dramatic; not sensational. They just pass on by, and you might witness them and smile, and then carry on with your day.
And it 's impossible to judge whether the abuse of those young patients is more prevalent than kind and caring acts. Neither behaviour can be measured in a meaningful and accurate way.
So, I wonder whether I over-reacted to the programme? Whether my appalled reaction plays into the drama of an extreme of human behaviour. Behaviour that is not neccessarily indicative of the norm of what most human beings behave like most of the time.
Perhaps, the programme was made to titillate and excite.... and so the making of the programme AND the watching unwittingly colludes with the behaviour that it is exposing.
See? Instead of believing that the programme makers wanted to expose the mistreatment of vulnerable people, I cynically doubt their motives.
A demonstratrion of how humanity is fucked and rushing headlong to its own demise at its own hand.
Well .... you can but hope.